I want to explain why I believe that it is important to primarily eat vegetables, and not more than a half pound of meat a week.
This 20 min TED talk by Mark Bittman explains the historical development of the typical diet in America, and why it is important for our health and for the environment to eat only 5 oz of meat a week, and to eat mostly vegetables.
This 20 min TED talk by Ann Cooper “Ann Cooper talks school lunches” explains how the meat and processed food that makes up our diet, and school lunches in our country, are not nutritious and contain large amounts of anti-biotics (the typical American eats 5 lb of anitbiotics a year in their meat). She explains the health consequences of this (according to the Center for Disease Control, 45% of Americans born in 2000 will have diabetes before graduating high school). She explains how this can be remedied (she fixed her school), but that it will take more money (currently on average school lunch costs $1 /day/child).
The reasons are threefold.
First, personal health. In the book Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy a group from the Harvard Medical School outlines with scientific evidence a healthy diet. Their food pyramid is shown below and found on their website.
Second, climate change. Livestock production causes one fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases (see NY Times article). As such, avoiding meat consumption is one of the greatest steps an individual can take towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
Third, animal cruelty. The movie Food Inc. does a fantastic job of describing the conditions that the animals we eat are raised in. Here is the trailer for it. You can either buy it on this website, or find it on Netflix.